In the weeks following SCOOTER NATION’s release, I have been blessed with very positive reader comments through social media and face to face meetings. A recent speaking engagement revealed that readers were not only ‘getting’ the dark humor, but that they wanted more of it. What could be more encouraging?
As a gonzo mortuary revenge piece, SCOOTER is many things. Characters play it straight for the camera even as the world around them disintegrates into chaos. Their narrative should not be trusted. With everyone cloying for a different result, protagonists and antagonists will say anything to get what they want. Lines blur as a result such that readers can’t always count on their heroes to be heroic especially when backed into a corner.
What if heroes are villains and altruism is priced? This is what SCOOTER NATION asks and what the characters almost without exception struggle to answer.
Science fiction writer Jim Cronin takes up the the reins as we enter week two of the blogothon. Citing a preference for 50’s and 60’s era Sci Fi movies, classical music and my favorite martian as creative influences, I can’t help but applaud this wildly inventive author. Word to the wise, though: keep an eye on your DNA! Hi, Jim!
His home world is dead; the victim of a supernova, but this does not stop Karm from attempting to save the Brin, his extinct species. Rescued by an alien race from a derelict spacecraft as a vial of DNA, then cloned, Karm must travel back in time, convince a small team of co-conspirators to join him in his quest, and outmaneuver a power hungry monarch and his fanatic brother, leader of The Faith, both absolutely committed to opposing him.
All of Karm’s plans rest on the untested and controversial cloning theories of the young geneticist Dr. Jontar Rocker, and the abilities of his bodyguard, personal assistant, and surrogate niece, Maripa. Will their combined efforts be enough to overcome the power of the monarchy and the planet’s most influential religion? Will Karm’s secrets destroy the trust of his companions and ruin his campaign to save the Brin?
Great book! Twists in plot were well thought out & timed perfectly – just when you thought you knew where you were going, a twist comes into play…
by Clare Bruno
Mr. Cronin writes on several levels successfully: from the detailed lives of a myriad of characters to the larger economic & political powers at play in a full world, complex and dangerous. And that’s not even counting the star that’s about to go supernova!…
by Debauched Sloth
The author’s characters are varied, both in personality and trait, which makes them all interesting…. Hegira augurs well for Jim Cronin’s future books. I look forward to reading more from him…
by Tracy Black
“Come in, Latonia Base…come in Latonia Base. This is Starship Hegira, repeat, this is Hegira. Come in, Latonia.”
Static crackled from the speaker. The lieutenant, bleeding and dying from the injuries he received during the mutiny trembled feebly as he gripped the microphone. Blood soaked his crest feathers; his talons broken and jagged from the hand-to-hand combat in the spaceship’s passageways. He knew his wounds were fatal, but his duty was clear: to report back to base about the failure of the mission. His body tensed as the next wave of pain shot through him.
“Latonia Base, this is Hegira. Come in. Priority clearance Falcon, Delta. Come in Base. Damn you to hell!” the soldier shouted in desperation. “Somebody answer! Come in, Latonia!” The microphone dropped from his talons, clattering on the control panel before falling to the metal plated floor. The lieutenant slumped back into the chair, pressing a blood soaked rag to his shoulder. Staring out the view port he watched the star-filled blackness and wondered at the cruel turn fate had taken over the past few days.
HEGIRA features a character cloned from a vial of DNA. To what degree did your knowledge of Zoology play a part in the science behind the story?
While I do have some familiarity with cloning, my main goal was to pick some aspect of science which has the potential to be controversial. I wanted to deal with the schism between science and religion and bringing cloning to its full potential struck me as an interesting subject. Evolution is too familiar, but I wanted something with a similar potential.
Your self-confessed struggle with the English language (tongue in cheek) is refreshing and all too familiar. Tell us about the writing courses you took and which ones helped you most on your quest to write The Novel.
To be honest, I only had one writing course in college. That one consisted almost entirely of us writing each night whatever struck our fancy. The topic did not matter. We could write nothing but “I have nothing to say tonight” if we wanted, so long as we wrote something. The professor then would respond. His response may or may not have been anything related to what we wrote. I guess it was sort of a late ’60’s or early ’70’s sort of thing. What I have learned about writing came more from working as a teacher and paying attention to what my Language Arts partners taught and my trying to copy them whenever I required my students to write something.
Your worst rejection letter ever: what did it say?
These actually were pretty much the standard “Sorry, but this is just not the sort of story we are looking for right now.” Rejections. None of then were rude or anything, but always disappointing.
The day you got your contract: anecdote, please!
Please don’t tell my wife this, but I actually did a bit of a victory dance in the living room. I NEVER dance. It is absolutely not something I do. But for some reason I did then. If she ever hears I did a dance she may force me to take her out dancing. That would be bad. 🙂
Ed. Don’t worry friend. Your secret is safe with me!
There are a lot of science fiction films out there that have suffered darts. DUNE comes to mind (and I liked it for all its campy 80’s fashion). What’s your favorite and how did it inform your work as a science fiction writer?
I much prefer the books to their films, but Ender’s Game was pretty good. I also am a compulsive viewer of almost any 1950’s or 1960’s era sci fi movies. Of course I also thought Guardians of the Galaxy was a hoot. Ex Machina made me think and was very interesting. The new Star Trek movies are very good as well.
Currently I am almost finished with the sequel to Hegira. This will be a trilogy, I hope. The third book is only in rough outline form so far though. I also have an idea for a YA science fiction story floating around.
What’s your second favorite genre and why?
This is kind of a toss up between fantasy and historical fiction. I love Tolkein, Eddings, and Martin, but Jeff Shaara and David McCoullough are also incredible. Of course books on Physics, Evolution, and science in general are always good too.
Who and what do you read when you aren’t writing, editing and publishing?
Science Fiction, History, Historical Fiction, Science, and the occasional Stephen King or James Patterson, among others. I almost always have two or three novels going on at the same time. Does that qualify as an addiction?
Do you have a muse?
Not really. Guess I am too grounded in science for that. Unless you count all of my Marvin the Martian characters I have hanging around. But I do listen to classical music when I write.
Last words? Tell us something you want us to know.
Whether it’s writing, or some other passion you may have, never give up until you have exhausted every ounce of effort and drive you can muster to achieve it. And then go out and give it some more before you move on and try to find another dream. If you give up before you have given it your everything, you’ll always have regrets. That, and just a simple, Be Nice To Others.
Ed. I can live with that!
I worked for thirty five years as a middle school science teacher, but am now semi-retired, working part-time as an educator/performer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I have been married for thirty seven years to the love of my life, Diane. Together, we raised two incredible sons, and now have a beautiful granddaughter to spoil rotten.
I was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in Arlington, Virginia before moving to Denver where I attended High School and eventually college at Colorado State University, graduating with a degree in Zoology and a teacher certification. I currently live near Denver in the small town of Parker.
There’s that old saying that one must never put the cart before the horse, so what if I just leave the cart at home and carry on? First reviews for HEUER LOST AND FOUND are in and so far, THEY’RE GOOD. So I think I will leave the cart at home and have a once around. As Lord Grantham would say: “Steady On”.
Every now and again you come across a treat and this book was as good as chocolate, mostly because of its originality. It takes a serious premise and gives it a light touch. The author is a word technician. The unusual catalyst? We have a man who dies but is still extremely vocal and active. But if his experiences beyond the Grim Reaper are typical, then I advise you, new readers, to stay in this life – or find some parallel universe.The writing style is racy with no words wasted. Early example: “May had given over to June with its outdoor patios and brain blasting surround sound systems—zesty realities that didn’t always mesh with work.” Midway example: “A tall lamp of ancient origin flickered in a large room ahead of him. Piled high with boxes and debris—a compendium of past lives—the space reminded him of a place he’d just come from and was not anxious to see again.” Late example: “Heuer looked at his smooth hands—a musician’s hands—with their perfectly tapered fingers filled with music that went unplayed. Peace? There was no peace to be made with Werner.”
It’s all tidily edited and I didn’t keep tripping over typos.
The characters are painted clearly right from the start, not in laborious detail, but in the little hints and the ways in which they do things.
A lot of care, background knowledge and zest with the pen has gone into this book.
—David K. Bryant, Author, Tread Carefully on the Sea
This beautifully written, quirky, sad, but also often humorous story of Heuer and Enid – one living and the other a spirit stuck between this world and the next – gives us a glimpse into the fascinating, closed world of the funeral director. Years after their relationship ended, the past catches up to both of them in the most unlikely place – the funeral home. Fresh writing filled with rich vocabulary, this story features a vivid cast of colourful, living-breathing characters. This one will keep you reading late into the night until the final page.
—Yvonne Hess, Charter Member, The Brooklin 7
Ms. A.B Funkhauser is a brilliant and wacky writer incapable of dumbing things down and amen for that. Her distinctive voice tells an intriguing story that mixes moral conflicts with dark humor, not too mention booze and cigarettes.
The book’s title refers to the lead character, a lawyer who dies in his home. As the body decomposes, the man’s spirit experiences euphoria, rage, disappointment and eventually hope. One of my favourite characters Enid, an employee of the Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home where Heuer now resides just happens to be Heuer the dead lawyer’s former girlfriend, and as we re-live the flawed recollections of their murky past—it really poses the question. How do we deal with death?
—Rachael Stapleton, Author, The Temple of Indra’s Jewel and Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire
The macabre black comedy Heuer Lost And Found, written by A.B. Funkhauser, is definitely a different sort of book! Her protagonist Heuer dies but his spirit hangs around as he waits for his body to be collected a week later from his dirty, litter strewn flat. In the funeral home, ready to be embalmed, he finds out it’s an ex-girlfriend, now alcoholic, who will do the process. Add to that a talking rat…
You will enjoy this book with its mixture of horror and humour.
—Diana Harrison, Author, Always and Forever
Heuer Lost and Found is a quirky and irreverent story about a man who dies and finds his spirit trapped in a funeral home with an ex-lover who happens to be the mortician. He has to come to terms with his hoarding, degenerate past before he can escape. I love the character of Heuer, the Lawyer. He’s not a loveable character, but he’s as fascinating as watching a bug under a microscope. I found myself rooting for the guy, which is always the mark of a strong character. The characterization is rich the story well-told.
—Cryssa Bazos, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
Author A. B. Funkhauser strikes a macabre chord with her book “Heuer Lost and Found”. Written from the perspective of an undertaker, she gives her readers a ringside seat at the Weibigand Mortuary where Enid, a middle aged woman with a taste for scotch, arrives on a Monday morning still in a stupor from the night before. Initially, the reader learns a bit about Enid and the history of the mortuary, its original owners and their heirs who continue to operate the family owned business, along with all of its eccentric employees. Early in the day, a call is received and there after a not so typical day in the life of a mortuary begins. Heuer, a well known middle aged attorney has been found dead in his apartment, where he laid for several days. The story now moves between present day and flash backs to a time when Heuer, Enid and others in the story are intertwined in one way or another. Heuer appears as a ghostly spectre to enchant us with his own take on his past, and his current impressions of what is being said and done as his body is prepared for burial. I for one like this book. I found it to have a similar feel to the HBO series “Six Feet Under”.
Ms. Funkhauser is a wizard with words and did a fine job of weaving this story of Greek, German and English speaking families that bounced back and forth throughout the entire book.
—Young, Author, A Harem Boy’s Saga Vol I, II, and III
Heuer’s difficult relationship with women and his mother seems to be a focal here, but so are references to friendship, loneliness and feelings of inadequacy. The irony that it’s an old girlfriend with a ton of problems taking care of him as his funeral director, is startling. The author depicts the flaws and human nature in both characters. This book is an incredible read that does not allow the audience to “fall asleep” at any time. A MUST READ!
—Daisy Kourkoulakos, Mississauga, Ontario
Not really horror or occult, this book mixes soul searching with some pretty off the wall humour. When a lawyer dies in his home with his spirit body for company, he must pass the time reminiscing with the walls while learning to move objects with his mind. Once his body’s found by a sexy coroner he madly wants to date, he finds himself stuck at a funeral home with a bunch of odd strangers including an ex girlfriend who likes to drink. What does a guy have to do to get on with his after life? Scaring the crabby neighbor is a start. I enjoyed this book because it’s extremely witty and the characters do really unexpected things like house breaking and scaring mourners at funerals. Perfect for anyone who likes gallows humour!
—Suzanne Fairbrass Stacey, Lake Simcoe, Ontario
Having received my copy of the work personally from the author, the first thing I have to mention, is that although not my usual cup of tea, but Heuer Lost and Found, is without a doubt a great story to get into and stay captivated by.
The setting may seem a little unorthodox and considered slightly macabre, but that is what made this work. This is a story that to me, felt like it abides by its own set rules and the pace is brilliantly maintained by the ever wordy A.B. Funkhauser. Even with an extensive vocabulary, the variety of words used were more of a pleasure than a pain and reminded me of the works by Bram Stoker, a personal favourite author of mine.
The story is lovingly crafted and is full of noteworthy lines that just stick in the memory, such as the phrase: Was sein wird, wird sein und was hineinschaut, schaut auch wieder raus—What will be, will be, and what looks in, looks out.
And if that’s not enough to entice, maybe the ensemble cast of Enid, Charlie, Clara is. A trio who although feel like a mix-matched bunch that shouldn’t be in each others lives, author Funkhauser bound them together just so.
For a story centered around death, it is full of Life.
—Rocky Rochford, Author, Rise of Elohim Chronicles
I didn’t know what to make of this at first, and then I was half way through it, and then I was at the end…but I didn’t want it to be over. Funkhauser made me learn new words like “aegis” and then I was laughing too hard to notice that I was actually at a sad part. Like Breaking Bad’s Walter White, Heuer is not a likeable man, but I somehow found myself rooting for him. A strange, complicated character. I have to look at him again. I hope there’ll be more where this came from!
—Kasey Balko, Pickering, Ontario
Multifaceted characters layered into a modern plot with plenty of sub cues based in the past. Heuer and Enid in their own way are similar so it makes sense that they’d come together again even if the circumstances are strange. Though spirit and funeral director never meet face to face, their simpatico is strong and their conversations are heartbreaking and real. The staff at the funeral parlour are good for laughs! Charlie, Dougie and poor old Robert the intern, who has to put up with a lot, break the tension and keep this thing rattling to a poignant conclusion.
Hey! Who hasn’t had a cat across their back, and is it really so bad?
Well, uh, that’s the problem. There’s cats and there’s cats and then there’s my conflict over Fifty Shades of Grey. As a frenemy of the franchise, I can attest to both admiring and coveting the author’s zeal. Her enthusiasm for her characters and the situations they find themselves in are patently obvious: she’s having a ball and she’s making plenty of dough. Make no mistake, I covet her dough too, I just can’t get my head around the notion that it’s okay to get the hide strapped off of you so long as the guy with the belt is a rich dork with a helicopter.
Am I being unfair again?
Ana comes round to Christian’s way of the world because he had a tough go growing up in Detroit. Plus he marries her and they raise kids in stunning opulence, kinda like the French Kings of old.
I’m still unconvinced.
Maybe if the cast in the new movie had been older. You know, like Clive Owen and Charlize Theron–people with a few miles on them. In my vision, Charlize could have cred: a professor, a jaded financial planner, a competing captain of industry. Old Clive, of course has to die and by her hand. In the final act, Charlize blithely dumps his body along with the cat o’ nine, waterboards, and electric chair he favored, but that she resented. Oh, yes, and she takes over his empire through a hostile mergers and acquisitions maneuver.
Now that’s something I could go for. Sadly, my vision was not to be, and the new flick will doubtless make MILLIONS so who cares, really?
As the release date approaches for Fifty Shades Part 1 (everything comes in three’s in Hollywood) I’m leaning towards the broad consensus arrived at Book Club: we can’t put money towards this thing when the economy is headed for the toilet…again. Best to wait until it arrives on the box, and then we can all get liquored up together in front of the flatscreen and insert our own dialogue.
Until then, I can only offer an intuitive critique of the upcoming film based on scuttlebutt, third party reports out of LA, and a really weird dream I had last night.
Presenting: The Unreview
Last week, I engaged in some trollish good fun with a fellow cinophile over the sturm und drang that occured on the set of Fifty Shades between director and writer. My Schadenfreude simply kicked in because the EL James juggernaut had stalled, if only for a brief time. The movie’s gonna make buckets no matter what, but at least for “one brief shining moment” there was trouble.
As a fan of enthusiastic authors everywhere, I place EL high on my admiration list. Lucky for her that the fantasy fest that is Fifty Shades The Movie is neither harmed nor hastened by the blow ups on set. For as much as the willful and spectacularly accepting race breathlessly to buy clothes and accessories made from the “softest leather,” others pinch nostrils shut because of the undeniable Euw factor that comes with the story.
As Canadian radio personality Jian Ghomeshi found out, rough sex outta the box leaves a stink that clears a room.
Fifty Shades is pretty. I know this because I’ve seen the trailers. Beautifully staged, wonderfully lit, it offers gorgeous scene set ups and fantastic costume design. Kinda like the Royal Wedding back in ’81.
However, as naive young Ana moans and groans under the ministrations of her wealthy and too young to be believable patron, the viewer soon experiences bilious side effects–a creeping feeling of extreme perviness–that accompanies visuals of a young woman stripped down and dehumanized for the greater good that is the heightened sexual awareness of her “I don’t do romance” helicopter loving, elevator riding partner, whose childhood of abuse and neglect back in Detroit makes this all okay.
Like the sets they play in, the youthful stars are super pretty too.
…And so was Rome under Caligula. (See Bob Guccione’s Caligula…or maybe don’t)
As my libertine friend suggests, life outside the box (or in this case, inside The Red Room of Pain) suggests either a sophistication derived from long-in-the-tooth experience and philosophical acuity (See A Dangerous Method) or deviance hastened by depravity and increasing violence resulting in death. (See Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka)
If Fifty Shades was honest, one of the characters would die at the end. But it’s not and they don’t.
Ana and Christian get a place and raise a family (Book III, suffer the trilogy), something serial killers Bernardo and Homolka hoped to do until they turned on each other. Prior to arrest, they hoped to abuse their future children and keep them in cages.
Does EL James have pretty little red rooms in store for Book IV?
Let’s hope she doesn’t go there.
I know, I know. I haven’t seen it, which makes this review extremely unethical. That’s why I’ll be back, but only after a free screening.
At press time:
Word out of H-wood is that the film is pretty mild; hence: no NC17 rating. The movie is very pretty and dialogue is very hokey. So what’s being shopped here? It doesn’t sound like S&M Bondage. Perhaps the joke’s on us?
Tomorrow: Fifty Shades of Creative Writing
Funkhauser, fragged out from an all-nighter of proof reading, jumps into a free for all on Facebook where she good naturedly offers up a little fan fiction.
February 16, 2015
Seems I got bogged down in proofing, and for that I am remiss. In not getting my fan fiction up when I promised, my emotions skewed much in the same way as when I heard that 25+ Dakota Johnson actually gave a compelling performance in the film. I’ve seen the stills–she looks dewy and real sad in character, and who wouldn’t be? Top performing billionaires like Fifty are doomed to disappoint given their alpha nature and tiresome veni vidi vici ethos. Professional reviews of the film so far suggest that Fifty is a firm “1” in terms of stars as opposed to “top rated”. Depending on their demographic, reviewers are either shocked at the domestic abuse portrayed, disappointed that it’s not dirty enough, or satisfied that its better than the book(s). The lead actor model is “wooden” they say, and that’s unfair, because the story really is about the woman, so beyond all the grunting and brooding, Christian Grey really is nothing more than a colossal woody and, that said, is entirely authentic.
I know. I know. I haven’t seen the film, so this review and all the content that accompanies it is still highly unethical.
The Fan Fiction
So here’s the thing: Much as I’d like to piggy back my besty tunes and the musicians that inspired me on my DEBUT NOVEL page, I won’t because of the “fair use” santa clause thingy that hinders me. Happily, there’s no such obstacle where the phenomenon ‘fan fiction’ is concerned. So with that, I’ll offer up my own Fifty Shades scenes. There are only three and they’re nice and short. I think EL would approve and maybe Dakota Johnson too, although I hope the kiddo doesn’t do the sequels. A one star rate does not a one star make.
I know how to write good, so any weird phrasings in the fan fic is merely stylistic. Happy Family Day, Ontario. Happy Presidents’ Day, America. Happy Monday to everyone else this side of the International Date Line.
The Fan Fiction (Reproduced from a Facebook Free Fer All)
Filling me with dirty socks and a coupla of golf balls, Fifty asserts his power with a rakish yawp.‘Cry havoc and let them dogs slip to war’ I howl at once remembering that I failed English. ‘I love your mind’ Fifty teases, his cruel taunts more hurtful than the cat I got him at Christmas.”.
“Hot tears soak my downy supple cheeks. Fifty’s brought out the turkey baster again. My pert, anxious nipples flatten and he sees. ‘You have not eaten your dinner Mrs. Grey,’ he admonishes, loosening the chinos he picked up for real cheap at the Saks mid winter sale. I know what he means, and I am crestfallen because we’re married and it’s a bore. He advances to me, his essential being pulsing in his big strong ginger dappled baby bottomed hands. ‘Aw hell’ I mutter. ‘Gotta eat my meat and veg all over again.'”.
“Fifty teases me with his helicopter blades promising to Julienne fry me. Trussed up in my panties and a turkey halter, I can only give thanks for my incredible luck. Rich assholes are so hard to come by and this one, if I’m real, real good, is for life. ‘Pass me the colander darling. I want to wear it on my head’ Fifty laughs. My hands aren’t free so how can I position a chapeau? “I’ll free you goose,” Fifty promises, as soon as I take my blue pill.” A young man, he’s taken a beating so I forgive him a Pfizer. I wait patiently, marking time with a reminder to write the drug company a thank you for making my led zeppelin a reality. “Baby, baby, hit me again” I squeal, longing for his sordid touch. Sacred and profane, there aint nothining like a good old fashion stroppin before the break of day.”
Today, I welcome international best-selling author Bernard Foong to the blog. Not only has Mr. Foong penned three sweeping non-fiction accounts of a wild life in progress, but I’ve also learned that a screen play is not far behind! Congratulations. His third book, A Harem Boy’s Saga III: Debauchery, has just been reviewed by yours truly (click here), and on the strength of it, I will check out books I and II. See synopsis and cover art featured below. Before jumping into the interview, take a moment and learn more about the man behind the words.
Young alias Bernard Foong is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.
By Christine Maynard (screenwriter and novelist).
Bernard Foong (designer) – A brief history
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England. He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols to name a few that carried his designs. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.
For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’(casual wear) company, he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. During his stay in Hong Kong, he freelanced for numerous fashion companies. From designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear). He also participated and organized numerous fashion shows, events, functions, and presentations in the Asia Pacific region.
Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer – travelling extensively to the United States, he was soon recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years.
Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. After a couple of years later, he was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, he assisted several founding members of the design school – working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum.
The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad.
Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.
He showcased the BERNARD FOONG R-T-W collections and BERNARD FOONG @ Modern Classic Ltd.(an established – Hong Kong bridal & evening wear company) collections in Hong Kong. His 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fashion show, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008 respectively at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, garnering positive interest in many Asian press reviews, including a China nationwide television broadcast of his latest collection. Aika (International Opera Singer) wore several Bernard Foong special occasion dresses at her Japan & European tour in September & October 2009.
Foong was the chief Creative Director for Official (Special Occasion fashion manufacturing company) Guangzhou, China producing – BERNARD FOONG Couture (specialty one-of-a-kind creations), White (RTW – Wedding/Special Occasion wear), Foxy Cute (Smart Casual/Cocktail wear), SexZ (decorative bustier) & Diva Bitch (sexual lingerie inner/outer-wear) collections.
Besides working on his regular haute couture, R-T-W and lingerie collections he is a visiting consultant/advisor for:
Pivot Point fashion college, Chengdu, China.
Hong Kong Design Institute (fashion department), Hong Kong, SAR.
Hong Kong Poly/U, Hong Kong (School of Apparel Design & Merchandising), SAR.
Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, Hong Kong.
Singapore Temasek Polytechnic – School of Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), Singapore.
Bernard is also writing his autobiography, a seven book series of Mr. Foong’s young life:
A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.
This provocative story spanning 4 decades and 3 continents is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems .”
A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally.
In his own words: The Interview
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born into a privileged Malaysian Chinese family. Following my brothers’ footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknownst to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.
What do you do when you are not writing?
My hobbies include Zumba, swimming, reading and doing creative projects. Although I’m a semi-retired fashion designer, I still keep in touch with the international fashion scene; especially Asian designers.
Do you have a day job as well?
My day job is writing and promoting/marketing my memoirs/books.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I first started writing in 2010. I had a nagging calling within to document my unique adolescent life and education.
I believe my geographical location (being in spiritual and beautiful Maui, Hawaii) inspired me to pen my seven book series.
Now that I’m semi-retired from my once very active fashion lifestyle, it is time for me to reflect upon my unique early experiences and to inform the world what my positive experiences in the Middle Eastern harems were like.
I believe my early experiences shaped my adult life to who I am today.
I finished A Harem Boy’s Saga – book I – Initiation; a memoir by Young a year later – in 2011.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I did not choose the genre. It chose me.
Where do you get your ideas?
Remembrance of things past. Luckily I’ve an abundance of photographs, diaries, journals to spur me to remember what transpired during those early years of my Middle Eastern harem experiences.
Although, I’ve taken creative liberties when it comes to the individual dialogues spoken by the various characters in my autobiography. I remember the gist of what transpired.
I’ve also changed the names and places to protect the identities of those involved in the secret society and the unique school and Arab Households I was in service at.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I seldom get writer’s block because I let my thoughts flow naturally out of me as I remember the events. Although I cannot remember the actual dialogues spoken – I remember the gist of what was being said.
I also have an abundance of old photographs taken during those early years, documenting my life then. I use these to trigger my memories to document the events in the books.
I do need complete silence when I write – which is 8 – 10 hours daily.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I just write. I’m very discipline when it comes to setting time for my daily writing schedule.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice was one of the influences because I have a presage that Ms. Rice went through a similar harem experience like I did.
Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys also influenced me to tell my story.
The abundance of school bullying and shootings also prompted me to tell of my unique education.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
The first two books in A Harem Boy’s Saga series were self-published. The easy part is the writing but when it comes to marketing books, it’s an entirely different ball game.
I was lucky to have literary agent Emerantia Antonia Parnall-Gilbert (Gilbert Literary Agency) after almost 6 months of non-stop searching for a publisher and agent. I wrote to close to 160 publishers/agents before I had a positive response from Gilbert Literary Agency.
I’m lucky to have Solstice Publishing interested in my autobiography. Solstice will publish the entire 7 book series. It was Emerantia who hooked me with Solstice Publishing.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would have found myself a publisher and literary agent and not self-published.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Through the usual channels: Twitter, Facebook, Authors/Books promotional organizations. Enter book award competitions and joining international book fairs. Connecting with book clubs, etc.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No! The books/series I’m currently writing is what I love doing and it’s an inner calling form a higher power to tell my story to the world.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I have two:
No Distance Between Us is a coming-of-age gay true love story (based on my sexual experience). It is a provocative story about a young man (me) initiated into a clandestine sexual society. Spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school,he attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.
It is also a love story between the youngman (me) and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.
A Harem Boy’s Saga – IV – Turpitude; a memoir by Young is the continual saga of A Harem Boy’s Saga – I – Initiation, II – Unbridled and III – Debauchery.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
My memoirs are based on my own experiences. Although, I’ve taken creative liberties when it comes to the individual dialogues spoken by the various characters in my autobiography. I remember the gist of what transpired.
I’ve also changed the names and places to protect the identities of those involve in the secret society and the unique school and Arab Households I was in service at.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
The erotic scenes because I remember the situations very clearly and am able to express my emotions and feelings I felt at the time with all my sexual partners and lovers.
How did you come up with the title?
It comes to me through a higher source, knowing what the title for each book is going to be either before, during or after the book is completed. It’s my guardian angel whispering in my ear on what to write down to the names for each chapter. I listen to my inner voice and heed its messages.
What project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on A Harem Boy’s Saga – IV – Turpitude; a memoir by Young.
My Yuletide short story book No Distance Between Us (a true to life coming-of-age gay love story) is scheduled for release on Nov. 21st 2014.
I’m also working with Solstice Publishing on having A Harem Boy’s Saga series made into audio books.
I’m also working on book II – Unbridled screen treatment and overview for Emerantia, my agent to submit to producers for consideration for films/TV mini-series and Stage Musical productions.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I don’t dwell on negatively only positivity. Therefore the best compliment would be:
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG, OMG, OMG – I can’t believe this is a real story!, September 22, 2014
This review is from: Initiation (A Harem Boy’s Saga Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Never have I read a story that has me exclaiming “OMG, OMG, OMG” every few chapters. This autobiographical story shares the intensely personal journey of a young boy as he comes of age in the midst of a male harem in the Middle East. He experiences all the things that are forbidden and taboo…you know those “unmentionable elephants in the room” that we are warned about from an early age. I had to readthis real life adventure to find out how messed up and damaged he must be. Imagine my surprise to meet an emotionally healthy young man who successfully grabs all life has to offer and does it with an innocence that is simply beautiful.
Don’t read this book if you aren’t ready for your ingrained beliefs and values to be challenged. Don’t read this book if you are not ready to delve into a side of our global society that is well hidden from most. Don’t read this book unless you too are ready to step into a new adventure. Initiation will change how you view the world.
Well done Bernard.
Wendy had summed up my series excellently and this is exactly what I like to say to my readers.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Stay focused. My modus operandi: the 3Ps: Perseverance, Persistence & Patience.
Be diligent about setting a time frame/goal to finish your manuscript.
Not to worry about what you are planning to write. Once you begin with the 1st word, you’ll know what the next word is going to be. When I write, it’s like channeling a separate spirit/entity within my person. Thoughts flows automatically through me and I write what comes naturally out of my hand.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans.
Historical accuracy is an important factor to consider when I’m writing memoirs/autobiographies and biographies. I like spending time doing research and learning/discovering new techniques in photo-shop/enhancements.
Traveling broadens my mind. My life partner and I are planning an up-coming road trip to the S. of France.
These are some of the goals I hope to achieve through
A Harem Boy’s Saga:
Provide Tolerance to Sissy Boys by understanding parents/peers and the community.
Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys influence me to tell my story.
Bullying can be avoided through Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer programs in school or outside school system. Older students acting as mentors to younger students.
Support/mentorship program to all parties involved to foster understanding and acceptance of Gay kids.
Provide an Alternative Educational System;
Understanding Big Brother/adolescent mentorship programs in schools, BB as protector to keep younger kids from being bullied.
Human Relationship Building Program;
Between parents/teachers and young students on sexual topics/issues, especially when adolescent are just discovering their sexuality. They can be guided on a healthy and honest sexual journey instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” hide it behind the closet policy.
A Harem Boy Saga; A Memoir Book 1 – INITIATION
This provocative story is about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.
It is also a love story between the young man and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.
I had a privileged and unique upbringing in Malaysia, where I was known as a “sissy boy.” Following in my brothers’ footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknownst to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.
My story has been kept under wraps for close to 45 years. The correct moment has arrived for me to make known my unique education.
A provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.
It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother’ and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperones and mentors during the boy’s Harem services.
This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their 2nd Arab Household Harem, the Sekham. They were apprentices and models, for the household patriarch’s controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places”.
The author’s experiences present facts that are truthful. Through these truths, which are often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnations and negativity which relate to his experiences.
There are 5 – 7 volumes in A Harem Boy’s Saga series.
Debauchery is the triquel to A Harem Boy’s Saga
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
A provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society through his UK boarding school. From there, he was spirited to the Middle East to attend the Bahriji (Oasis) School in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for Harem services for the wealthy elite.
It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother,’ and his ‘Valet,’ who served as his chaperones and mentors.
This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their third Arabian Household Harem, the Quwah. There, they became confidants to a prince, assistants in an international dance club venture, “Carousel,” and apprentices and models in a controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places.”
This story is an account of the author’s experiences. Through these truths, often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnation and negativity related to sexuality, love, and personal freedom.
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